A 3-day music festival in the heart of Seatown, WA. As a loyal resident of the PNW, I take it upon myself to celebrate this event each year, since my first year attending in '08.
2009 was quite the amazing lineup. We had everyone from Modest Mouse and De La Soul, to Metric and Franz Ferdinand! It was the best year I've experienced thus far as a Bumber-goer.
You never know what to expect with music festivals...who will attend or if you'll be lucky enough to witness a favorite band is all up to fate. Sometimes the music festivals you love don't provide you with the dream lineup that you hope for all year. This is similar to what occurred for me during Bumbershoot 2010.
The initial line-up ;
Bob Dylan / Mary J. Blige / Weezer / Hole / Rise Against / Neko Case / The Decemberists / J. Cole / LMFAO / Billy Bragg / Ozomatli / Angelique Kidjo / Solomon Burke / The Dandy Warhols / Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros / Jenny and Johnny (featuring Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice) / Jamie Lidell / The Raveonettes / Balkan Beat Box / Motion City Soundtrack / The Thermals / Ra Ra Riot / The English Beat / Justin Townes Earle / Booker T. / Surfer Blood / The Bouncing Souls / Japandroids / Bob Schneider / Anvil / Bomba Estereo / Jay Electronica / Aterciopelados / Baroness / James Cotton “Superharp” Blues Band / David Bazan / Meat Puppets / Crash Kings / This Providence / Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express / The Moondoggies / The Whigs / Greg Laswell / Civil Twilight / Trampled By Turtles / The Clientele / Atlas Sound / Laura Veirs & The Hall of Flames / The Budos Band / Bobby Bare Jr. / Horse Feathers / Vienna Teng Trio / HEALTH / Plants and Animals / Georgia Anne Muldrow & Declaime / Wheedle’s Groove / Hey Marseilles / Kings Go Forth / Sweet Water / Delorean / JEFF the Brotherhood / Chris Pureka / Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra / Garotas Suecas / The Maldives / The Constellations / Coryell, Auger, Sample Trio / Grynch / Visqueen / Victor Shade / Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs / Fresh Espresso / Pete Molinari / Sista Monica’s “Singin in the Spirit” / Lay Low / Unnatural Helpers / Idiot Pilot / The Round / Wild Orchid Children / The Cute Lepers / Feral Children / Fences / Caspar Babypants / The Tripwires / Fatal Lucciauno / Loch Lomond / The Physics / THEESatisfaction / School of Rock All Stars / See Me River / Zoe Muth and The Lost High Rollers / People Eating People / Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme / Brent Amaker & The Rodeo / Born Anchors / Slender Means / BOAT / McTuff Trio / Parlour Steps / The Redwood Plan / Helladope / Lisa Dank / Greta Matassa Quartet / The Lonely H / Matt Jorgensen Quintet / Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin’ Daddies! / Great Waves / Brian Vogan / Johnny Bregar
Now, there were some great bands amongst these names of course. And thinking back, there were tons of undiscovered bands that I missed out on! At first glance, I was stoked to see Weezer, Edward Sharpe, The Thermals, Ra Ra Riot, Delorean, The Bouncing Souls, and The Decemberists appear on the lineup.
The rest were bands I had not heard of or had no desire to see. And this was what brought me down and nearly persuaded me not to partake in the 2010 fest.
However, one must always remember that even if your bands aren't playing, it is in your best interest to stay open-minded and attend some of the bands you're not familiar with. You never know who you'll discover! I personally had never heard of Delorean before Bumber '10, but they sounded different, unique on the lineup list, so I decided to stop by their stage for a listen. They were phenomenal! I ended up having a great time, getting into new music rather than being bummed the whole time that some of my favorite groups weren't there.
Along for my excursion was the boy in question (boyfriend Brendon). It was his first time going to Bumbershoot, so I enjoyed showing him around. The fest grounds never really change. The stages are usually given the same names (Bumbershoot Mainstage, State Farm Stage, Starbucks Stage, Broad Street Stage, Center Square Stage, EMP Sky Church, and Northwest Court Stage). Each are in the same locations every year and the decor consists of the familiar red and blue raised cartoon hands. But the authenticity is refreshing, compared to festivals that change up their look annually.
Despite Bumber being a 3-day festival, one is given the option of attending whichever day(s) they want. Sunday had the most potential to myself and Bren. It turned out to be the wisest choice also; the sun was out and it was completely cloudless that September afternoon! We had brought coats but didn't need them for the majority of the day. This is a rarity in Seattle, there's normally a form of precipitation at some point in the day.
We spent time in downtown Seattle once our ferry docked, looking like tourists in our own territory.
Once we arrived at the venue, held throughout the City Center beneath the Space Needle, we had to face the treacherous Will Call line. I really had no other option than this, as much as I hate Will Call. I didn't want to print out my ticket. I feel better actually holding a true hard-papered copy, rather than a printed sheet.
I always dread Will Call. However, my terrors were put to ease once we got there. It turned out to be quite a breeze getting in, not too many people.
A few spread-out friends were already there... good 'ol Drake was bounding for The Bouncing Souls and Weezer. Micheal, my crowd-fending ally from Capital Hill Block Party was also in the Bumber-midst, spotted quite frequently throughout the venue. We met with them occasionally, but stuck to our own for the most part.
The day was more laid-back than my usual experiences at music & art fests. We caught a glimpse of The Bouncing Souls, and I was quite impressed with their live performance.
We then headed down to see Rise Against. Brendon was itching to witness their show, as they are a favored band of his. Not much of an indie-music lover himself, but I give him props for tending to accept all genres without personal bias. I should try to do the same, but sometimes it can be difficult.
We rushed over to Broad Street Stage to see Ra Ra Riot next. I was surprised to see so many stringed-instruments in the band. It felt sort of like we were at a folklore gathering. It was interesting, to say the least.
We hit the traveling crowds again and dove into the merch stands. I got lost in Flatstock twice. I live for Flatstock each year. Just imagine the most amazing band posters and artwork surrounding you....what else can you do but get lost? It's like indie-art heaven. I will stroll in and out of the isles for hours if someone doesn't monitor me.
I eventually purchased an owl poster I'd had my eye on for over a year; having discovered it online after Bumber '09. I also grabbed a Sasquatch Music & Arts promo poster....to bring me luck in my future attempt to get to The Gorge in May '11.
Once Brendon got me out of Flatstock, we took a breather and found a Thai food stand...typically. They usually have the BEST Red Curry with rice, despite it being festival food. Across the way, I spotted Key Arena and began frothing at the thought of seeing Gorillaz Escape to Plastic Beach World Tour live there in November. I had my ticket purchased and in my grasp within the first week of the sub-division pre-sale. Needless to say, I was pining.
We had a lot of time to kill before our next destined band would begin, so we spent time walking around some more, all the while Brendon trying to keep me from buying everything we saw. I ended up scoring a panda hat and this awesome Mt. St. Helen's erupting sweatshirt....
This was around the time that we ran for Delorean. I fell in love at first hearing them. Their music was like a mixture of Holy F***, Phoenix...or perhaps I'm thinking too much...But I was more or less in complete rapture. There's nothing I love more than discovering a new band. (I would later purchase their entire record on itunes to show my support. Honestly, take a listen to their album if you haven't heard of them. They're brilliant.)
Now was the big decision... the night's headliner was Weezer. Obviously, I was keen to see them as I haven't before. But Brendon wanted to check out LMFAO. He had already seen both groups, so ultimately it was up to me to make the choice between the two. We ended up rushing to catch the beginning of Weezer....but I had the feeling that we should try and see both. This was a regretful mistake --- we left Weezer just as their show was getting good. They covered Kids by MGMT, and oh how I would have loved to hear that!
Instead we trotted foolishly over to LMFAO to witness utter crap. I have, in my day, had a great time listening to LMFAO's Party Rock with my friends, and my first thought was, Oh it will be great to hear them live and dance! No. This was pure error on our part. LMFAO was awful! Even Brendon had to admit it. Their sound-quality was shot firstly, so you couldn't really hear them. Secondly, well, the entire show was a club remix of other artists' music! They barely did any of their own material.
It was an overall let down, whereas we could have been refreshing our souls to Weezer, ending the night with a great cover. I won't make the same mistake twice.
[A glimpse of what we missed.]
(Not sure how I feel about the PokerFace cover though.....)
We didn't let this sour our whole day. We were quite enthused with our Saturday at Bumbershoot 2010. We made our way up the dark city streets back to the ferry docks, exploring authentic Seattle graffiti along the way.
Our feet were throbbing by the days end, but I had a great time with Bren. It was cool getting to take the boy in question further into my life and show him what I love to do. I feel that it could have been a better lineup, but even so, as I said before, you can't judge a festival by an unfamiliar lineup. Rather, you should take it upon yourself to embrace something different and leave your mind open.
Music fest season was coming to an end for 2010... but there were still a few more concerts occupying dates in the final months of my year.
San Diego took up the second week of October, followed by Deadmau5 on October 13th!